by Tom Utescher
Two players accounted for half of the goals scored in last Friday’s Inter-Ac League girls lacrosse rematch between Penn Charter and visiting Germantown Academy.
GA junior Betsy Prezioso tickled the twine eight times to lead the Patriots to a 16-13 victory, helping raise the team’s record to 4-6 in the league and 9-15 overall. Penn Charter, which was down 9-6 at halftime and trailed by as many as seven points in the second period before staging a late rally, received seven goals from Avery Shoemaker, a senior headed for the University of Virginia.
Filling in around Prezioso for the visiting offense were sophomore Ali Crump, with a hat trick, and senior Allie Cannon, with two goals. Senior Meg Westrum and sophomores Isabelle Jacbos and Belle McMahon each added one.
PC (2-8 league, 6-10 overall) received two goals apiece from junior Hannah Fox and sophomores Macaul Mellor and Perri Keehfuss.
In league games on Tuesday, GA had defeated Baldwin, 12-5, with five goals from Prezioso and three from Cannon, while Penn Charter bowed to the Academy of Notre Dame, 10-14, despite hat tricks from Shoemaker and freshman Greer Guyer.
On Friday, each team was missing a sophomore starter. For Penn Charter it was goalie Jamillah Buie, who was out sick and was replaced in the cage by senior Maddie Mahoney (six saves).
In goal as usual for GA was another 12th grader, Allie Carrigan (15 saves), but the Patriots were missing another element of their defense, sophomore Lilly Bolen. Away attending her sister’s college graduation, Bolen is a 5’10” starter for GA’s basketball team, and in the first GA-PC lax match she face-guarded Charter’s Shoemaker, helping hold the Quakers standout to two goals as GA prevailed, 11-9.
“Not having Lilly today we had to readjust,” pointed out Brooke Watson, former longtime assistant and now first-year head coach for Germantown. “They also had the new goalie, so we had to find out on the field what worked against her.”
The Patriots’ first shot on Mahoney came back off the crossbar, then PC went down the field and Shoemaker got the home team on the board. Charter threatened again, but Carrigan stopped shots by Shoemaker and Mellor, and the Patriots then reversed the flow.
Five minutes into the match, Prezioso drove to the Quakers’ cage and fired in a bounce shot. That touched off a string of four GA goals – another for Prezioso and two for Crump. It was now midway through the first half, and although Shoemaker came down off the draw and scored to make it 4-2, the Patriots had Prezioso respond with a pair of goals in the next two minutes.
PC then scored in sequence for the first time in the game, drawing back within one of the leaders (6-5) as Shoemaker sandwiched two goals around one by Mellor. The clock dropped below five minutes and Prezioso traded markers with Penn Charter’s Fox. Cannon blasted one into the Quakers’ cage off a feed from McMahon, and with 36 seconds left Prezioso funneled in her sixth goal of the first half, which ended with a 9-6 GA lead.
Both teams came out firing in the second period, tacking six points onto the scoreboard in five-and-a-half minutes. Unfortunately for the home fans, four of them belonged to GA’s Prezioso, McMahon, Jacobs, and Westrum. PC’s Keehfuss had opened the second-half scoring to make it a two-point game at 9-7, but despite a strike by Shoemaker a little later, the Quakers quickly found themselves trailing, 13-8.
Although the point production slowed down after that, by the time the clock had dropped to the 10-minute mark, the visitors had spread the score to 15-8 thanks to Crump and Cannon.
PC now responded with back-to-back scores, one in transition by Fox, and another on a drive from the offensive set by Shoemaker. With 6:40 left to play, the Patriots deposited their final goal of the afternoon. It was Prezioso’s sixth, and it put the Pats back up by half-a-dozen, 16-10.
Charter went down on attack and saw a shot by sophomore Courtney Cubbin track just over the goalcage, and later, with 4:32 remaining, Keehfuss cradled in from out to the left of the goal to score. The Quakers called their final time-out, with the tally now 16-11.
Germantown controlled the subsequent draw and ran some time off the clock, but the Patriots turned the ball over with just over two minutes to go. Heading downfield and setting up their offense, the Quakers had Shoemaker roll her defender and score her seventh marker of the game with 1:28 on the ticker.
The ball hit the ground after the draw and was scooped up by a PC player, and although GA junior Kendall Grasela knocked the ball loose, the Quakers got it back. From near midfield, Fox delivered the ball down to Mellor, who cashed in to make it 16-13 with 1:05 left to play.
PC got possession off the draw once more and there was a penalty on GA, to boot, but there just wasn’t enough time left for the Quakers. They missed a bounce shot and recovered the rebound, but when they lofted a pass out front from behind the cage, GA sophomore Sydney Brown picked it off with 40 seconds to go, and the visitors held onto the ball the rest of the way.
Even though they started the season with a loss to 2015 Inter-Ac champion Agnes Irwin, the Patriots were 5-3 overall by the middle of April. After suffering through an 0-6 slump that extended to the beginning of May, GA played better again in its next few outings.
“As a coach,” Watson said, “you wish you could bottle the days when everything goes right and the girls really play well together, so you could somehow use that to bring them back when they aren’t playing as well. We pulled out of that a bit by doing a lot of passing drills in practice and that sort of thing – things that helped us reconnect as a team.”